20% Oil royalty for Sarawak and Tok Nan-style of autonomy

20% Oil royalty for Sarawak and Tok Nan-style of autonomy


After the quitting of each autocratic leader, it is not hard for the immediate successor who is in control of necessary resources to create a new political wave.

After the retirement of Mahathir Mohamad, his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi created the so-called “Pak Lah phenomenon”, and won 90.86% of the Parliamentary seats in 2004 for Barisan Nasional (BN).

After the resignation of Taib Mahmud who is also known as “Pak Uban” and “Pek Moh” (white hair), his successor Adenan Satem who is also known as Tok Nan, creating an “Adenan fever”, and winning 87.80% of the Sarawak state assembly seats on 7th May 2016.

In the later days of Mahathir as Prime Minister, he had been facing accusations of dictatorship, cronyism and abuse of power, therefore as the “Good Guy” Pak Lah came into power, bringing along his Islam Hadhari ideology, he diverted the voters’ dissatisfaction towards the Mahathir regime, continuing to enable BN in ruling the Federal government with a two-thirds majority of the seats, thus achieving a historic election result.

Taib Mahmud’s tenure as Chief Minister was longer, and there were endless accusations against him on corruptions, cronyism, and abuse of power. Since Tok Nan came into power, he has put in efforts in his call for Sarawakian autonomy and in his making of a liberal or moderate image. Tok Nan’s cult of personality by the media is so overwhelming that those who are unfamiliar with politics would have mistaken him as a prominent federal leader.

National sovereignty vs Tok Nan-style of Sarawak autonomy

Under the constitutional orthodoxy of national popular sovereignty, the struggle for autonomy is regarded as highly sensitive by the federal regime. In the context of the new National Security Council Bill, one must be cautious in any urgings for autonomy for Sarawak. However the Najib Abdul Razak regime urgently needs to claim some credit from Adenan’s Sarawak victory, therefore he had to tolerate and cooperate with Adenan in his political narrative of a “Tok Nan-style of Sarawak autonomy”.

Adenan’s narrative of Sarawak autonomy focused on his continuous acts of banning Peninsular Malaysians from entering Sarawak. Based on media reporting, in the past one-and-a-half years there were at least 30 political and civil society individuals who were banned. On the eve of polling day of the Sarawak state election, Adenan even banned the Menteri Besar of Selangor, Azmin Ali – a head of state government.

In this state elections, the Adenan regime has obviously politicized the banning of West Malaysians into Sarawak. This is to fulfil the campaigning needs for the argument of Sarawakian autonomy, and also to answer the question of whether Sarawak under Tok Nan is able to continue Pek Moh’s strongman legacy in barring the West Malaysia-based UMNO from entering Sarawak, in order to prevent UMNO from reshuffling the Sarawakian politics, and exerting hegemonic control in distributing the resources in Sarawak.

The banning of West Malaysians not only addresses the collective psychosocial needs of the Sarawakian voters, but also to address the political needs of a rent-seeking as well as patronage culture under crony capitalism of the ruling regime.

Before the polling day of the Sarawak state election, The Economist published a ranking for “crony-capitalism index”, where Malaysia has moved up from third place two years ago to the second place. The report also showed almost all of the wealth in the country is crony wealth, with just a smidgen of difference between the two.

Media reporting in the past few months showed that before the dissolution of the Sarawak state assembly, everyone had expected the Adenan regime to continue, and were predicting the enterprises which will benefit from the contracts given by the ruling group and also the delivery of the benefits from rent-seeking activity.

Malaysiakini even followed up various promises of fund allocations and contracts made by the ruling group in this Sarawak election, and since the nomination day all sorts of fund allocations and promises (including election promises, as well as funds which were already allocated) have amounted up to RM500 million.

Different interpretations of Sarawak autonomy

In this state election, The ruling and the opposition parties have different types of political discourse regarding the autonomy for Sarawak, and even the West Malaysia-based BN and the Sarawak BN are having their own interpretations as well, bypassing the framework of UMNO’s doctrine of national sovereignty, following the pace of Tok Nan.

On 4th of May, three days before the polling day, five candidates from Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s, headed by its state vice-chairman See Chee How, made five demands to the Federal government, and three of them were closely related with the oil royalty, including the realization of 20% oil royalty for Sarawak, the annulment of Territorial Sea Act 2012, and the rescission of the 1974 tripartite Petroleum Agreement.

On the same day, after chairing the weekly federal cabinet meeting at Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Kuching, Najib said that now was not the right time for talks on increasing the oil royalty from 5% to 20% for Sarawak.

The autonomy for Sarawak is an important feature in the 18-point agreement proposed by Sarawak, prior to the formation of Malaysia in 1963. The Adenan regime’s action of banning West Malaysians from entering Sarawak is taken as related to the 18-point agreement, where Sarawak would maintain their jurisdiction in entry and exit affairs vis-a-vis immigration control. As for PKR’s demand for oil royalty, it is related to the state government’s jurisdiction over finance affairs.

Tok Nan’s narrative of Sarawak autonomy is illusory

Actually on 7th May 2014, during the sitting of the Sarawak state assembly, members from both sides made an unusual cross-partisan move being in agreement with each other, unanimously passing a motion demanding the Federal government to increase the current 5% oil royalty to 20%. This is an important move in the first 100 days of Tok Nan’s tenure as Chief Minister, yet before the polling day of Sarawak, Najib turned down this demand by the Sarawak state assembly, in front of him.

As now the election has ended, will Tok Nan’s narrative of Sarawak autonomy be materialized before the next General Election? Or the so-called autonomy for Sarawak is merely a show to ban the opposition and non-governmental organization (NGO) individuals from entering Sarawak?

We daringly deduced that even if the General Election is to be held next year, in the context of 20% oil royalty, Tok Nan’s narrative of Sarawak autonomy is purely illusory and will not be enforced.

Why? To the Najib regime, by recognising the Adenen regime’s jurisdiction over the immigration, does not affect the interest of the Federal government, and this “Adenan fever” does help in strengthening the Najib regime, albeit for a short period of time, and also being able to build up the false consciousness of the “Tok Nan’s style of autonomy” among the Sarawakian, so why not?

On the other hand, if the demand from the Sarawak state assembly is being approved, where the oil royalty is being allowed to raise from 5% to 20%, in terms of the importance of oil revenue towards the contribution to the national income, this is just as demanding decentralisation of concentrated power and resources from the Federal government. Furthermore, if autonomy is really given to Sarawak, this will affect the needs of UMNO in exercising their hegemony in Sarawak in the future.

Not giving excuses for warlords’ rebellion

Before the next General Election, if Najib is being forced to approve the oil royalty to 20% in order to fulfill his own needs for political survival, we think that the inner circle of UMNO which is so embedded within a system of crony capitalism will start a rebellion from within the party.

In the context of 1MDB and RM2.6 billion issues, Najib has gained control of the UMNO supreme council and majority of the UMNO divisions (bahagian) and Members of Parliaments (MP), in order to strengthen his own position, so there is no reason for him to give the Adenan regime 20% oil royalty at this moment, giving an excuse for an UMNO warlords’ rebellion.

After the Sarawakian people have given the Adenan regime another five-year mandate, the first thing they should do is to demand the Sarawak BN under the Adenan regime to submit a motion in the coming Dewan Rakyat sitting, demanding the Federal government to approve Sarawak’s demand for the 20% oil royalty, and mobilise the MP from all over the country to support this motion.

This is the first test of whether the Adenan regime can fulfill the autonomy for Sarawak.

Released by,
Ooi Heng
Executive director
Think tank
Political Studies for Change (KPRU)
12 May 2016


Three scenarios to deal with multi-cornered fights for GE

‘Three scenarios to deal with multi-cornered fights for GE’

A political think-tank has outlined three scenarios that could potentially take place during the next general election, following the high numbers of multi-cornered fights in the 11th Sarawak state election.

Political Studies for Change (KPRU) executive director Ooi Heng said while the multi-cornered fights that took place during the Sarawak election was a contentious discussion for those in peninsular Malaysia, he noted that the impact of the controversy was less significant for the people of Sarawak.

“Imagine what will happen if, during the 14th general election, there are three-cornered fights, whether it involves Amanah and PAS or PKR and DAP? Surely the voting turnout will drop and affect the results of polling day.

“So what is the solution to the issue of overlapping seats among opposition parties? There are three scenarios,” Ooi said in a press statement today.

The first scenario – and the most likely one – he said, is that the opposition parties continue with their negotiations in the same way.

This will also mean that unilateral announcements from the parties will continue, he added.

In this scenario, he explained, one-on-one fights will probably be observed for a majority of the seats but there will still be a number of seats facing multi-cornered fights.

‘Complete overhaul of voting system’

The second scenario would see the complete overhaul of the voting system, Ooi said.

The country’s current voting system is the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system, which means that the candidate with the highest votes wins, even if it is only by a margin of one.

This system is the reason why one-on-one fights became so important to the opposition, and also why jailed former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim became such an important figure, he said.

“Hence, we have to either change the FPTP system or the opposition has to get Anwar out of jail,” Ooi said

“In a system which cultivates a fairer contest, the role of figureheads is not so important, because the system itself provides a fairer space of representation to all parties.

“But in a flawed system, figureheads like Anwar become important, as they can unite all main opposition parties and ensure one-on-one fights.

“Unfortunately, Anwar is in jail and the flaws of the system are obvious,” he pointed out.

If the opposition cannot get Anwar (photo) out of jail, and the system be reformed to proportional representation (PR), Ooi said that if there were multi-cornered fights like in the Sarawak election, PKR and DAP would be able to compete against each other in a fairer way.

He added that another system is the alternative voting (AV) system, where voters can vote by ranking their candidates of choice.

He cited an example where if PKR and DAP were contesting the same seat, PKR voters could choose DAP as their second choice while DAP voters could choose PKR as their second choice.

“Under this system, if there are no candidates with more than 50 percent of the vote, the candidate with the lowest votes will be eliminated and the votes will be re-distributed to the rest of the candidates based on the alternative choices of the voters.

“This process must be repeated as long as there are no candidates with more than 50 percent of the vote. The AV system is to make sure that the winner can represent the majority of the constituency,” Ooi explained.

If both of those do not work, “we could also have a mix of several voting systems”, he suggested.

Voting system not likely to change

However, Ooi said the voting system overhaul does not seem likely to change as long as BN is the ruling government because the FPTP system clearly plays to the advantage of whoever dominates the federal administration.

This is especially true if the ruling government does gerrymandering and malapportionment, he said.

He added that the third and final scenario is for a reshuffling of the opposition coalition with a clear goal of ensuring one-on-one fights during the next general election.

In this case, he said, Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali’s invitation to PAS to rejoin the opposition coalition is very timely.

The Sarawak state election has proven that PKR, DAP, Amanah and PAS have failed to confront the flaws of the voting system, as they are out to protect their own party interests.

“In the context of the flawed system, their competition with one another, leading to multi-cornered fights, is very disappointing to the rakyat who hope to vote for the opposition to bring change,” Ooi said.

“Hence, if they don’t look into the three scenarios proposed and take rational political steps, we predict that the 14th GE will witness the terrible failure of the opposition in changing the ruling regime,” he added.


English: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/340927

Malay: https://kprumalaysia.org/2016/05/10/isu-pertindihan-kerusi-tiga-senario-menuju-pru-14/

Isu pertindihan kerusi: Tiga senario menuju PRU-14

Isu pertindihan kerusi: Tiga senario menuju PRU-14

Pilihan Raya Negeri Sarawak (PRN Sarawak) 2016 telah menyaksikan sebanyak 26 pertandingan tiga penjuru, 12 pertandingan empat penjuru dan 5 pertandingan lima penjuru bagi kerusi-kerusi Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Sarawak. Jumlah kerusi melibatkan pertandingan tiga penjuru dan ke atas adalah sebanyak 43, bersamaan dengan 52.44 peratus daripada jumlah kerusi DUN Sarawak sebanyak 82.
Pertandingan tiga penjuru dan ke atas semasa PRN Sarawak adalah sesuatu yang lumrah buat orang Sarawak. Kerana itu, biarpun pertandingan tiga penjuru dan ke atas melibatkan calon Barisan Nasional Sarawak (BN Sarawak), calon persendirian, calon Parti Keadilan Rakyat (KEADILAN) dan Parti Tindakan Demokratik (DAP) di enam kawasan DUN Sarawak hangat dipertikaikan oleh orang Semenanjung, impak kontroversi tersebut tidak begitu besar buat orang Sarawak.
Walau bagaimanapun, pertindihan kerusi melibatkan Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) dan Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) yang mungkin berlaku pada dua pilihan raya kecil di Semenanjung atau pertindihan yang mungkin juga melibatkan KEADILAN dan DAP pada Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-14 (PRU-14), akan menjadi satu isu khususnya dalam kalangan pengundi Semenanjung yang mahukan pertandingan satu lawan satu menjadi realiti.
Bayangkan apa yang akan berlaku apabila tiba PRU-14 nanti, wujud pertandingan tiga penjuru sama ada melibatkan PAS dan Amanah atau KEADILAN dan DAP? Pasti peratusan mengundi akan jatuh merunum sehingga mempengaruhi keputusan semasa hari pengundian.
Apakah penyelesaian kepada masalah pertindihan kerusi antara parti-parti oposisi? Terdapat tiga senario.

Senario pertama. Parti-parti oposisi teruskan dengan cara rundingan sedia ada yang menyaksikan peristiwa seperti pengumuman unilateral mengejutkan parti oposisi yang lain. Dalam konteks ini, prinsip satu-lawan-satu mungkin dihormati untuk sebahagian besar kerusi tetapi sebilangan kerusi tertentu akan berdepan dengan pertandingan tiga penjuru.
Meneliti perkembangan politik semasa pasca PRU-13 sehinggalah PRU Sarawak 2016, kebarangkalian senario pertama berlaku semasa PRU-14 adalah yang tertinggi.

Senario kedua. Sistem pilihan raya sedia ada, yakni sistem pengundian First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) hanya memenangkan satu-satunya calon yang memperolehi undian tertinggi, biarpun dengan kelebihan satu undi berbanding dua calon yang lain dalam pertandingan tiga penjuru.
Kecacatan sistem FPTP ini mendorong parti-parti oposisi supaya bersatu berdepan dengan BN secara satu-lawan-satu agar meningkatkan peluang kemenangan. Dalam konteks ini, peranan Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim begitu signifikan malah menyerlah sekali selepas beliau dimasukkan ke penjara dan seterusnya Pakatan Rakyat berkecai.
Apa yang berlaku kemudian dan sehingga hari ini membangkitkan dua persoalan penting, iaitu sama ada kita ubah sistem FPTP atau kita keluarkan Anwar Ibrahim daripada penjara?
Mengapa? Kerana dua persoalan ini saling berkait, satu daripadanya berkait rapat dengan sistem dan satu lagi berkait rapat dengan aktor.
Dalam sistem yang menyediakan suasana persaingan yang lebih adil, peranan aktor dalam hal ini tidak begitu menonjol kerana sistem memberi ruang yang lebih adil dari segi peratusan kebarangkalian perwakilan kepada semua parti oposisi.
Tetapi dalam sistem yang cacat, peranan aktor seperti Anwar Ibrahim yang mampu menyatukan semua parti oposisi utama dan memastikan pertandingan satu-lawan-satu semasa pilihan raya menjadi penting sekali.
Malangnya Anwar Ibrahim berada di penjara dan kecacatan sistem sedia ada begitu menonjol.
Dalam konteks di mana pihak oposisi tidak mampu mengeluarkan Anwar Ibrahim daripada penjara, maka sistem sedia ada harus diubah.
Jika sistem FPTP dapat diubah dan digantikan dengan sistem pengundian Proportional Representation (PR) di mana kerusi akan diagihkan kepada parti-parti bertanding berdasarkan peratus undian yang diperolehi, seperti yang diamalkan di Indonesia, Rusia, Itali, Belanda dan sebagainya, maka dalam keadaan di mana wujud pertandingan tiga penjuru seperti mana yang berlaku semasa PRU Sarawak 2016, KEADILAN dan DAP akan dapat bersaing antara satu sama lain secara lebih adil.
Di bawah sistem pengundian PR – sekiranya tiada mana-mana parti mampu memenangi lebih daripada 50% kerusi, maka parti yang berlainan perlu berunding supaya menubuhkan kerajaan bersatu atau coalition government.
Sekiranya sistem pengundian alternatif (alternative voting atau AV) diamalkan, seperti di Australia, maka para pengundi bolehlah mengundi calon-calon mereka dengan meletakkan kedudukan (ranking) bagi setiap calon.
Misalnya jika KEADILAN dan DAP menandingi kerusi yang sama, penyokong KEADILAN bolehlah memilih calon DAP sebagai “pilihan kedua” dan penyokong DAP bolehlah memilih calon KEADILAN sebagai “pilihan kedua”.
Dengan sistem ini, sekiranya tiada mana-mana calon mendapat undian melebihi 50%, maka calon yang terendah dalam undian akan disingkirkan, dan undiannya akan diagihkan semula kepada calon-calon yang lain mengikut pilihan alternatif pengundinya. Proses ini mesti diulang selagi belum ada calon mengutip 50% – sistem AV ini sememangnya adalah untuk memastikan bahawa pemenang mampu mewakili suara majoriti kawasannya.
Ataupun sistem yang mencampurkan atau menggabungkan sistem yang berlainan, contohnya campuran antara PR dan FPTP di Jerman dan New Zealand; atau gabungan selari (parallel voting) antara PR dan FPTP seperti di Thailand, Taiwan, dan Korea Selatan, diamalkan supaya setiap parti mampu menggunakan kekuatan masing-masing untuk bersaing supaya meraikan undi dan hanya bekerjasama selepas pilihanraya untuk menubuhkan kerajaan.
Tetapi nampaknya ini tidak akan berlaku selagi BN masih memerintah, kerana sistem FPTP sedia ada jelas menguntungkan mana-mana parti yang mendominasi pemerintahan persekutuan, terutamanya mereka dapat melakukan gerrymandering (melukis sempadan kawasan pilihanraya yang pelik supaya menguntungkan pihak sendiri) dan malapportionment (ketidakseimbangan bilangan pengundi bagi kawasan yang berlainan).
Peningkatan 11 kerusi baharu DUN Sarawak dan keputusan kerusi-kerusi ini yang memihak kepada parti pemerintah merupakan satu lagi bukti bagaimana sistem sedia ada menguntungkan pihak pemerintah.

Senario ketiga. Dalam keadaan di mana sistem FTPT tidak dapat diubah dan Anwar Ibrahim di penjara, bagi mengelakkan senario pertama yang berlaku di Sarawak daripada berulang semasa PRU-14, rombakan semula gabungan parti-parti oposisi harus dilakukan di mana tujuannya jelas untuk memastikan pertandingan satu-lawan-satu secara menyeluruh menjadi realiti semasa PRU-14.
Dalam hal ini, tawaran Timbalan Presiden KEADILAN Datuk Seri Azmin Ali kepada PAS sejurus selepas mengetahui keputusan PRN Sarawak 2016 tepat pada masanya. Ahli Parlimen PAS Dato’ Mahfuz Omar juga menyatakan pendirian menyeru PAS supaya menyambut pelawaan Azmin Ali dan kembali menyertai dalam satu Pakatan Pembangkang bersama KEADILAN, DAP dan Amanah.
PRN Sarawak ini membuktikan bahawa KEADILAN dan DAP telah gagal bersatu menghadapi kecacatan sistem pengundian FPTP. Begitu juga PAS dan Amanah. Setiap parti politik oposisi mempunyai kepentingan masing-masing dan mereka saling bersaing.
Dalam konteks kecacatan sistem sedia ada, persaingan sesama mereka akan menjurus kepada pertandingan tiga penjuru yang menghampakan rakyat yang berhasrat mengundi oposisi dan membawa perubahan.
Justeru, tanpa meneliti tiga senario ini secara mendalam dan mengambil satu tindakan politik yang rasional, badan pemikir Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU) menjangkakan, PRU-14 bakal menyaksikan kegagalan teruk pihak oposisi dalam menuju ke arah perubahan rejim pemerintah.


Dikeluarkan oleh,
Ooi Heng
Pengarah eksekutif badan pemikir
Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU)
Atau think tank
Political Studies for Change (KPRU)
10 Mei 2016


Peluang terakhir gerakan pembaharuan sebelum PRU-14

Peluang terakhir gerakan pembaharuan sebelum PRU-14

Kenyataan pertama Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin setelah digantung jawatan Timbalan Presiden UMNO seiring dengan kenyataan terkini Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Mereka mendesak Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak supaya berundur, pada masa yang sama, menolak institusi politik yang korup dan menuntut pembaharuan.

Semalam, Selangorkini melaporkan pesanan Anwar yang disampaikan Presiden KEADILAN, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail ketika berucap pada program Halaqah Ilmu, di kediamannya di Bukit Segambut.

Menurut Wan Azizah, Anwar memesan bahawa, langkah terbaik menyelamatkan Malaysia adalah menukar seluruh sistem negara dan bukannya sekadar seorang individu sahaja.

Hari ini, kenyataan pertama Muhyiddin setelah dipecat kelihatan seiring dengan kenyataan Anwar.

Menurut laporan Malaysiakini, kenyataan Muhyiddin berbunyi seperti berikut:

“Jika kita mahu melihat Malaysia kembali menjadi sebuah negara yang dihormati dan rakyat menikmati kehidupan yang lebih sejahtera, maka kita mestilah bersedia untuk bersama-sama menuntut perubahan. Ia bukan sekadar mendesak perdana menteri supaya berundur, tetapi menolak institusi politik yang telah gagal dalam memenuhi aspirasi rakyat.”

Semenjak siri pendedahan dilakukan berkenaan kes 1MDB dan seterusnya kes RM2.6 bilion oleh media tempatan dan antarabangsa, cukup ramai rakyat Malaysia yang kecewa dengan situasi negara.

Perkembangan merisaukan telah berlaku di mana satu demi satu media yang melaporkan berita melibatkan pentadbiran tertinggi negara telah diambil tindakan, antaranya termasuk The Edge dan Sarawak Report, sehingga yang terkini The Malaysian Insider.

Namun, harapan rakyat yang mahukan perubahan dan pembaharuan terkilan kerana dalam situasi sebegitu, dan dalam konteks perpecahan pihak oposisi, seolah-olah tuntutan rakyat tidak dapat diterjemahkan sebagai gerakan massa dan tindakan politik yang berkesan.

Pihak-pihak yang mengikut perkembangan politik negara secara dekat tahu akan peri pentingnya peranan Anwar dan betapa pengemblengan tenaga melibatkan semua pihak yang mahukan perubahan dan pembaharuan, termasuk semua parti oposisi, semua pemimpin dan mantan pemimpin parti pemerintah yang mahukan perubahan, semua akar umbi, pihak masyarakat madani dan masyarakat massa, adalah faktor penting untuk menjayakan impian dan tuntutan perubahan.

Berikutan kenyataan pertama Muhyiddin yang jelas seiring dengan kenyataan Anwar, kini tiba masanya semua pihak berkaitan bergerak bersama menuntut perubahan dan pembaharuan.

Badan pemikir Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU) berpendapat, ini merupakan peluang terakhir rakyat yang mahukan perubahan menaruh harapan terhadap pimpinan politik kedua-dua belah pihak dan masyarakat madani untuk bergerak bersama melakukan sesuatu yang penting dan bermakna sebelum pilihanraya umum keempatbelas (PRU-14).

Jika kiranya pemimpin parti politik terus angkuh dan bergerak sendiri dengan tindakan politik yang mengecewakan rakyat, KPRU khuatir, sokongan rakyat akan berlerai menjelang PRU-14.

Dikeluarkan oleh,

Ooi Heng
Pengarah eksekutif
Badan pemikir
Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU)
Political Studies for Change (KPRU)
27 Feb 2016

NGOs: Witch hunt of Bersih leaders a cynical attack on accountable government

NGOs: Witch hunt of Bersih leaders a cynical attack on accountable government
11 Nov 2015

We, the undersigned civil society organisations, condemn in the strongest terms the witchhunt of Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (Bersih 2.0) leaders, for successfully organising the the historic Bersih 4 rally on 29-30 August, as a cynical attack on the right to dissent and on the very idea of accountable government.

The witch hunt of the two Bersih leaders — and possibly more political activists — is a cynical mockery of Article 10(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution which provides for the freedom of peaceful assembly.

The electoral lobby’s chair Maria Chin Abdullah and its Sabah vice chair Jannie Lasimbang were charged respectively on 3 November 2015 and 21 October 2015 under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 for failure to serve the police a 10-day notice.

When the communication between Bersih and the police not only took place but was even reported widely in the media, when the Bersih rally was amazingly peaceful despite its scale (accumulatively 500,000 participants) and its length (34 hours), these prosecutions are nothing but persecution of those who dare to exercise their constitutional freedom.

The real “crime” that Maria and Jannie committed together with 500,000 Malaysians is demanding an accountable government and believing that citizens have the right to call for a government that betrays their trust to resign.

When demanding an accountable government is a crime, Malaysia is pushed towards worsening economic lethargy and political instability.

Citizens are pushed to either give up on changes or believe that changes can never happen under peaceful means. The former response leads to brain drain and capital flight while the latter makes them susceptible to radical means.

Ironically, the witch-hunt validates the Bersih 4 rally’s demands for institutional reforms, most notably, the right to dissent.

We urge millions of Malaysians who support Bersih 2.0’s cause for democratisation to stand firm with Maria and Jannie, who are now the face of Malaysians’ moral courage and determination for change at the nation’s trying time.

For both the sanctity of the Federal Constitution and political stability, we call upon the attorney general’s chambers to come to their sense and withdraw the charges.

Endorsed by:
1. All Women Action Society (Awam)
2. Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS)
3. Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAman)
4. Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM)
5. Engage
6. Federation of Malaysian Indian Organization (Prima)
7. Green Friends Sabah
8. Himpunan Hijau
9. Institute for Development of Alternative Living, (Ideal, Sarawak)
10. Institut Rakyat
11. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
12. Japan Graduates’ Association of Malaysia (Jagam)
13. Jaringan Orang Asal Semalaysia (JOAS)
14. Jawatankuasa Bertindak Kuala Lumpur Tak Nak Insinerator (KTI)
15. Jihad for Justice
16. Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU)
17. LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG)
18. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet)
19. Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (Mipas)
20. Malaysian Indian Transformation Action Team (Mitra)
21. Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
22. Malaysian Youth Care Association (Prihatin)
23. Malaysian Youth & Students Democratic Movement (Dema)
24. National Indian Rights Action Team (Niat)
25. Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH)
26. Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI)
27. Partners in Community Organising (Pacos Trust)
28. Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)
29. Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)
30. Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Univesiti dan Kolej di China, Malaysia (LiuHua)
31. Persatuan Dayak Sarawak (Pedas)
32. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)
33. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (Permas)
34. Persatuan Rapat Malaysia (Rapat)
35. Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (Ikram)
36. Projek Dialog (PD)
37. Pusat Komas
38. Research for Social Advancement (Refsa)
39. Rise of Sarawak Efforts (Rose)
40. Sabah Women’s Action-Resources Group (Sawo)
41. Sahabat Rakyat
42. Sarawak Access (Saccess)
43. SAVE Rivers (Sarawak)
44. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
45. Selangor And KL Hokkien Association Youth Section
46. Sisters in Islam (Sis)
47. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)
48. United Chinese School Alumni Associations of Malaysia (Xiao You Lian Zong or UCSAAM)
49. Tamil Foundation
50. Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
51. The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
52. Tindak Malaysia
53. We are Malaysians
54. Women Centre’s for Change (WCC), Penang
55. Women Development Organization of Malaysia, PJ Branch
56. Writers’ Alliance For Media Independence (Wami)

‘Sosma review committee yet another Najib’s unfulfilled promise’

‘Sosma review committee yet another Najib’s unfulfilled promise’
4 Nov 2015

Three years since promising to form a committee to review the Security Offences (Safety Measures) Act 2012, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has failed to fulfil his promise, think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU) said.

KPRU executive director Ooi Heng said the Hansard shows Najib promised to do twice in the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, but three years and three months later, this has yet to happen.

“While tabling the Sosma Bill on April 16, 2012, Najib said the government would form a committee to review the Act from time to time, and to recommend improvements.

“The prime minister also said at a Dewan Rakyat event the same day that ‘the committee will not only be made up of government agency representatives, but also the Malaysian Bar president and National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) representative’.

“The same guarantee was repeated by the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong on May 8, 2012,” he said.

Ooi said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on June 18 had consented to the Sosma Bill and the legislation was subsequently gazetted as ‘Act 747’ and came into force on July 31, 2012.

However, the review committee is still nowhere in sight.

Yesterday, Bar Council president Steven Thiru raised the issue during a forum with former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail.

Gani urged the Bar Council to take up the issue with the government.




Minimum wage should be relaxed for disabled people

Minimum wage should be relaxed for disabled people

Think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU) welcomes the raise of minimum wage as announced in Budget 2016, however KPRU opines that the current minimum wage system is unable to protect the people with disabilities, also known in Malay as Orang Kurang Upaya or Orang Kelainan Upaya, or OKU in short.

This is because the disabled people are unable to compete with the non-disabled people on a level playing field in the working field, where the same minimum wage is offered to all. This will result in difficulties for the disabled people in getting a job. Therefore in KPRU’s opinion, the minimum wage system should be relaxed or be more flexible, in order to encourage employers in giving more opportunities for the disabled.

By looking into the reality of the working world in our country, with the same pay, if a non-disabled person and a disabled person (which the disability is considered to be affecting his or her work performance or outcome) apply for the same job vacancy, the employer would most probably prefer to hire the non-disabled applicant.

In the Budget 2016 speech, Finance Minister Dato’ Seri Najib announced that an employed OKU will get a monthly allowance of RM 350, whereas an unemployed one will get RM 200 per month.

KPRU wishes to affirm that for an unemployed OKU, the monthly allowance of RM 200 is insufficient for their needs, so they will still have to be funded by their families or whatever donations given to them.

KPRU would like to suggest the National Wages Consultative Council (MPGN) to consider the minimum wage system in countries such as the United States and Australia. In the United States, while the minimum wages is generally USD 7.25 per hour, there are a few specific exceptions. Among these, the employment of people with disabilities is completely exempted from the stated minimum wages, as long as the employer obtained permission from the Department of Labor for doing so. With this, the employer may pay their disabled workers a lower wage, therefore giving more job opportunities for the disabled workers.

As for Australia, while the minimum wage is AUD 17.29 per hour, there are also a few specific exceptions. One who is working 38 hours per week would get at least AUD 656.90 (before tax reduction). On the other hand, under the Supported Wage System, a disabled worker would get a minimum wage of AUD 81 per week.

Under the Australian Supported Wage System, the waging of a disabled person is based on their assessed work capacity, which the assessment must be done before hand. With this, for example, one whose assessed work capacity is 70% will be paid 70% of the normal pay of his or her job.

Therefore, we urge the federal ruling government to review the minimum wage systems in the United States and in Australia, and then consider a leniency of minimum wages for the OKU. This is to encourage the private sector to hire OKU, as they would be able to pay a lower wage, and at the same time “doing a favour” in helping the OKU workers to earn a living.

Prime Minister Najib Razak announced in his Budget 2016 speech that starting from 1 July 2016, the monthly minimum wages will be increased from RM 900 to RM 1000 for Peninsular Malaysia, and from RM 800 to RM 920 for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan. This involves all private sectors except domestic workers.

Najib also announced that the lowest starting pay for civil servants is RM 1200 per month, which will potentially benefit 60,000 civil servants.

Released by,
Ooi Heng
Executive director
Political Studies for Change (KPRU)